Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Six - The Church of the Quacks

Science and Wealth

The truth is that the brand of Mammon was on our Yankee religion from the day of its birth. In the first edition of her new Bible "Mother" EddY dropped the hint to her readers: "Men of business have said this science was of great advantage from a secular point of view." And in her advertisements she threw aside all pretense, declaring that her work "Affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which one can accumulate a fortune." When her pupils did accumulate, she boasted of their success; nor did she neglect her own accumulating.

It has been a dozen years since I looked into this cult; in order to be sure that it has not been purified in the interim, I proceed to a street corner in my home city, where is a stand with a sign: "Christian Science Literature." I take four sample copies of a magazine, the "Christian Science Sentinel," published by the Mother Church in Boston, and turn to the "Testimonials of Healing." In the issue of August 11, 1917, Mary C. Richards of St. Margarets-on-Thames, England, testifies: "Through a number of circumstances unnecessary to relate, but proving conclusively that the result came not from man but from God, employment was found." In the issue of December 2, 1916, Frances Tuttle of Jersey City, N.J., testifies how her sister was successfully treated for unemployment by a scientist practitioner. "Every condition was beautifully met" In the same issue Fred D. Miller of Los Angeles, Calif., testifies: "Soon after this wonderful truth came to me, Divine Love led me to a new position with a responsible firm. The work was new to me, but I have given entire satisfaction, and my salary has been advanced twice in less than a year." In the issue of January 27, 1917, Eliza Fryans of Agricola, Miss., testifies how she cured her little dog of snake- bite and removed two painful corns from her own foot. In the issue of August 4, 1917, Marcia E. Gaier, of Everett, Wash., testifies how it suddenly occurred to her that because God is All, she would drop her planning and outlining in regard to real estate properties, "upon which for nine months all available material methods were tried to no effect." The result was a triumph of "Principle."

While working in the yard one morning and gratefully communing with God, the only power, I suddenly felt that I should stop working and prepare for visitors on their way to look at the property. I obeyed this very distinct command, and in about an hour I greeted two people who had searched almost the entire city for just what we had to offer. They had been directed to our place by what to material sense would seem an accident, but we know it was the divine law of harmony in its universal operation.

After this no one will wonder that John M. Tutt, in a Christian Science lecture at Kansas City, Mo., should proclaim:

My friends, do you know that since the world began Christian Science is the only system which has intelligently related religion to business? Christian Science shows that since all ideas belong to Mind, God, therefore all real business belongs to Him.

As I said, these people have the new-old power of mental healing. They blunder along with it blindly, absurdly, sometimes with tragic consequences; but meantime the rank and file of the pill-doctors know nothing about this power, and regard it with contempt mingled with fear; so of course the hosts of sufferers whom the pill-doctors cannot help flock to the healers of the "Church of Christ, Scientist." According to the custom of those who are healed by "faith," they swallow line, hook, and sinker, creed, ritual, metaphysics and divinity. So we see in 20th- century America precisely what we saw in B.C. 20th-century Assyria - a host of worshipers, giving their worldly goods without stint, and a priesthood, made partly of fanatics and partly of charlatans, conducting a vast enterprise of graft, and harvesting that thing desired of all men, power over the lives and destinies of others.

And of course among themselves they quarrel; they murder one another's Mortal Minds, they drive one another out, they snarl over the spoils like a pack of hungry animals. Listen to the Mother, denouncing one of her students - a perfectly amiable and harmless youth whose only offense was that he had gone his own way and was healing the sick for the benefit of his own pocket- book:

Behold! thou criminal mental marauder, that would blot out the sunshine of earth, that would sever friends, destroy virtue, put out Truth, and murder in secret the innocent, befouling thy track with the trophies of thy guilt - I say, Behold the "cloud" no bigger than a man's hand already rising on the horizon of Truth, to pour down upon thy guilty head the hailstones of doom.

And again:

The Nero of today, regaling himself through a mental method with the torture of individuals, is repeating history, and will fall upon his own sword, and it shall pierce him through. Let him remember this when, in the dark recesses of thought, be is robbing, committing adultery and killing. When he is attempting to turn friend away from friend, ruthlessly stabbing the quivering heart; when he is clipping the thread of life and giving to the grave youth and its rainbow hues; when he is turning back the reviving sufferer to his bed of pain, clouding his first morning after years of night; and the Nemesis of that hoar shall point to the tyrant's fate, who falls at length upon the sword of justice.

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